We all live busy lives, rushing to work, running errands, and navigating rush hour traffic. With all the busyness, it’s hard to live a prayerful life and be mindful of God’s presence, even if we want to. But ultimately, quietness comes from within, and incorporating holy habits into our lives can help us keep recollected in the midst of all the noise and chaos of the modern world.
Here are 5 simple ways to slow down and live a more peaceful and prayerful life.
1. Spend time in prayer in the morning
Trust me, I know how hard it can be to drag yourself out of bed in the morning. The feeling of grogginess can be hard to shake. But is important to start the day with prayer. In my own experience, my day is productive and peaceful in direct proportion to my ability to get out of bed and spend time in prayer and spiritual reading. When I do this, I find myself more peaceful, more patient with others, and more recollected to God’s presence throughout the day. But when I hit the snooze button, the rest of the day, including my interactions with others, seems to suffer.
I know it can be difficult to know what to do when you make time for prayer, so I will share my own morning routine in a future post.
2. Say a Hail Mary before beginning work
When I sit down at the computer, my first impulse is to start anxiously checking emails and reading my favorite news websites. Instead of giving into this impulse, however, I have gotten in the habit of saying a Hail Mary before I do anything else—many times before I even turn on my computer. I ask Our Lady to bless my day and guide my priorities. My work day is inevitably less stressful and hurried when I start it in this way.
3. Say the Angelus
The Angelus is a beautiful, time-honored prayer that reminds us of the miracle of the incarnation and the importance of conformity to the will of God. It is also a great way to pause, turn your heart to Our Lord, and take a deep breath, so to speak, in the middle of a hectic day. Traditionally, it is prayed at the noon hour, so maybe you could start your lunch break by praying it.
We don’t all have jobs where we can pray the Angelus, but if you do, I would encourage you to set an alarm and pray it tomorrow.
4. Pray the Rosary
The rosary is one of the most popular and well known Catholic prayers, and for good reason. When prayed with concentration and devotion, it is one of the best prayers we can pray. Our Lady of Fatima asked all the faithful to pray the rosary daily, so it should be the one prayer we manage to pray, even if we can’t make time for anything else.
Consider praying the rosary after dinner. It is a great way to spend time with Jesus in Mary at the end of your day. If you have a family, pray it as a family. If you can’t find time during the day, try praying in the car on the way to work. Whatever you do, pray the rosary.
5. Examine your conscience before bed
Sin is a reality, and chances are, we are saying, thinking, and doing things that are displeasing to God throughout the day. If you don’t think so, you are deceiving yourself. Go to bed with a clean conscience by examining yourself daily. Pause before bed, cast your mind’s eye over your thoughts and interactions with others, and ask yourself if you’ve done anything displeasing to God. Then, think of Jesus crucified, full of love for you. Tell him you are sorry for your failings and resolve to do good by saying an act of contrition.
It is easy to get distracted and forget God’s presence throughout the day. Reminding ourselves of God’s presence often requires sanctifying our day with good daily habits.
What do you do to sanctify your day? What are the practices you recommend?